River Runs Deep


When the weather changes,

Even though Sally never reached us, we still have summer storms. Yesterday the clouds sort of swirled around and brought us to scenes like the one you see above. We also had cooler temperatures with little humidity. Being outside felt great, The all seeing cocker spaniel liked it so much that we went on three long walks. She was prancing as we made our way around the neighborhood.

Today is a quiet day with lots to do.

A video producer reached out to me and wants to license pictures that I made 40 years ago when I was working for my career starting newspaper chain in southwest Virginia. The backstory is simple.

Murder.

A woman was killed after having a club. The man who killed her did a great job of hiding her body. All evidence pointed to him so he was tried and convicted. It was commonwealths first bodiless trial. Fast forward to 40 years later and the story is being made into one of those mystery who done its for something like The History Channel.

I have all of my film from those days. It’s in a box and has never properly been archived. This will really take a good measure of photographer’s luck. I’ll let you know what happens.

The picture. You know my drill. See it, photograph it.Try to do as little in post production as possible. For sure, I darkened the sky. Smart phones want to balance out the shadows and highlights. That’s fine. But, you have to bring back what you lost to match what the eye saw and the brain understood.

Stay safe. Stay might. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Enjoy every cup of coffee.

Shady Grove


Testing.

This is the third time that I’ve tried designing this post. It doesn’t help to save your work because it is saved in some other format. So, you start over, And, over.

Some comments.

Anyone who has taken the time to reply to my WordPress-based rants has nothing good to say about the Block System.

I’m going to force myself into some whole new weird kind of design just to use it.

The picture.

I told you how I found the scene. I didn’t discuss development and processing.

First, let me assure that WordPress stepped all over the picture even though I compressed it properly. The colors were much more vibrant when I checked it on my monitor.

Not only was my goal to keep the picture vibrant, but I wanted to keep it tack sharp. It is that, I think.

More design.

More about the design. I created some strange kind of designers grid in my head. Hmmmm.

The picture was made yesterday morning, as usual, on a dog walk. She found the tree. I remembered my old school training and looked for the moss, which grows on the north side of a tree. It was there. Right where Ma Nature left it.

I suppose that there is an app for that now. Instead of learning the actual way to find north you just have to learn to turn on the app.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Years ago I was talking to a professor. He fancied himself to be a futurist. I believed at the time, and still believe that you should learn the basics, build a solid foundation and grow from there.

He said no. Why bother learn all of that when you can just jump in wherever the technology was at the time? Hmmm. He taught some kind of math. I was just photographing him for a newspaper story.

What did I know?

I know this. Sometimes I use the turn-by-turn directions on Google Maps. In order to do that you have to give Google access to all of your travels.

I don’t care. I’m not hiding from anyone.

Mostly, we travel to the grocery story and a few other places. At the end of the month Google emailed me an accounting of my trips. They said that I drove 26 miles. My car’s odometer said that I traveled 97 miles. My car has been accurate since I bought it.

Which one do you think that I’m going to trust?

Sandwiches and stuff.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Keep your distance. Wear your mask. Take care of each other. Take care of yourself. Enjoy every mayonnaise and tomato sandwich. This is the south after all.

.

All The Same


Christmas in the summer.

Simple.

I kept it simple.

I saw it. I filled the frame. The pressed the button. I made the photograph. I did almost minimal work in post production. And, I was done.

Simplicity is often how you know that you are headed in the right direction. Often they say that anything that is worth doing takes a lot of time and effort. I don’t know who they is, but they is wrong.

Certainly some very worth projects do take a lot of effort, but the ones that really kind of sparkle just sort of flow out of you. Bob Dylan says that. He says his music comes from some other place. So too, with Neil Young.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing my work to theirs. I’m not a fool enough to think that my pictures are equal to their words and melodies. But, when I’m really right and I put some time between making the pictures and editing them I often wonder who actually took them.

I’m certain that some of you understand that.

That sense doesn’t have to remain in the arts. People like Einstein and John Nash worked mathematical equations like they were writing a symphony. In fact, when John Nash wrote his doctoral thesis, it was thirteen lines of a mathematical equation.

Sometimes simplicity is the key. Sometimes not.

You have to be careful. There is a trend toward minimalism. That’s great. That’s simple. Sometimes, I think that it’s forced. And, that is the biggest rule. You can’t force it. It just has to come.

No comments about the picture today. I made the ones that matter at the beginning of this post.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every beignet.

Roses On Your Grave


As the world turns.

There are days. And, there are days.

Yesterday was one of those days. Quiet. Peaceful. Productive. Then, I learned the truth. The truth about someone I trusted. I was getting submarined by a friend. It took me awhile to figure out why I was walking uphill through thick mud while I was trying to complete a project.

Now I know.

I’m not angry, although I should be. I’m disappointed. My feelings are hurt because there was no reason for this. Now that I know I’ll patch the hole, get rid of my partner and finish the job properly. If need be, I have a good lawyer.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s important. It’s something that I didn’t need, especially now when the world is spinning off of its axis and numbers add up to nothing. Eventually, all of this bad stuff has to turn, right?

I think back to the early days of pan corona. I thought that we’d get hurt some, but that we could rebuild better than ever. Remember all of that? I still think that we might be able to, but I’m pretty toasty right now, so I’m not sure. After all, more and more bad stuff keeps piling up.

I probably could use a vacation to somewhere far away. But, I’m not getting on an aluminum flying can of death. I’m not afraid to fly. I fly all over the place. I’m afraid that the airlines won’t clean anything. Even if I do it, I won’t have time to get it done properly.

I’d drive, but I have the same feeling about staying in motels and hotels. I can stay with friends. But, I have to there and what are we going to do? Wear masks in their houses? That doesn’t sound fun at all.

I’d take Amtrak somewhere. I could quarantine myself in a compartment. I could ask the car attendant to bring me food. I could go somewhere that I enjoy. But, then what? The destination would have the same problems.

It’s funny. We travel a lot during a normal year. It’s kind of nice being home. It would be nicer if I wasn’t feeling trapped. I feel like I’m in some sci-fi movie. Sure, I can leave but the rest of the world is a nuclear wasteland.

Anyway.

The picture.

It’s less than 24 hours old. Yes, indeed. Another dog walk.

I didn’t think that flowers were blooming. At least, not these. But, they were and I did. You know all of the rest. Every bit.

Stay safe. Stay might. Enjoy all the Chinese dumplings.

Not Too Late


Summer’s end.

Labor Day.

We honor our workers, no matter what their work may be. However, I fear that like our military, we could be described describe as “suckers” and “losers.” After all, why work for a living when you can scam for a living?

But, that’s not what I want to talk about today.

I’d rather talk about the change of seasons that Labor Day represents. For many people when the calendar turns from Monday to Tuesday, summer is over. For them. According to the calendar, summer ends on Tuesday, September 22. For nature.

We know that during the pandemic time numbers mean nothing. Nature does.

Down here in the Deep South — there, I said it — even though the sunlight is getting lower and more golden, the temperatures really won’t start cooling down until mid-October. I suppose that means our summer lasts a month longer than many of the rest of you.

That sounds great, right?

Trust me, as the calendar gets closer to the end of this month a kind anticipation sets in. Typically, I go outside and start looking for cooler, dryer weather. After a few days of hot, humid weather, I start to grumble. After a few more days, my grumbles turn nasty. No worries. I’m a great mutterer. Nobody hears my words but me.

Finally.

Ahhhhhh. Cooler air.

Our walks become dances because guess who likes cooler air too. The all-seeing cocker spaniel. We’ve been averaging about a mile a day. As it turns cooler we’ll work up to over three miles a day. She would probably try to walk three miles a day in the heat because she thinks that she’s pleasing me. I won’t let her. She’s 12 years old. You know the rest.

The picture.

It’s Sunday. We all need something pretty. Making and processing the picture was straight forward. I have been using a little trick in post production to make the image tack sharp and richer in color.

However, something is going on. My smart phone is back focusing. The back detail is sharper than the front detail. It should be the other way around. If I was using a camera I would know what to do. I suppose somewhere deep down in the online instructions there may be something to help me make an adjustment.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy your all of your barbecue.

Summers End Days


Late blooming summer flower.

While I was walking.

I spotted these tiny little pink flowers.

They are located high up, growing from a sort of ivy that covers a chain link fence. As we enter into September, this is the time of the summer season when most flowers are dying. Green trees look faded. Not these flowers. They are new blooms. I realize that we have year round growing seasons, but they normally start in late February and again in October.

This summer has been more moderate than past summers. The actual temperature has not risen to 100 degrees. The air is a little dryer now, but when it was wet we did have “feels like” days when the combined temperature and humidity rose to around 110 degrees. But that happened early in the summer and it wasn’t often.

It still could happen. We normally don’t start drying out and cooling down until mid to late October. Even then, we have warm days. We rarely have a white Christmas, but sometimes we do have a warm Christmas.

That’s life in the swamp.

The picture. Old school approach. Many youngsters have no clue how to do this even though DSLR cameras and some phones allow you to do it.

I metered very tightly and from the lightest point of the flower. I wanted the flower to have shape and detail. I wanted the background to be dark. The white part of the flower is at least a stop and a half lighter than the darkest areas of the picture. It enhanced the drama and draws your eyes to the center of the picture without much post production. Ask if you have any questions.

Happy Sunday.

A Summer’s Evening


Drifting into the mystic.

Another one. Another picture that makes you smile. A version of yesterday’s post made from a different perspective.

And still.

That weird light refraction followed me.

I have no idea what it was. I think it was some strange bit of light bouncing around the water droplets in the air. Usually, that reflects something in the red spectrum, making the raw frame a little gray and muddy. Not this time.

Perspective. That’s a good word. Let’s talk about that.

A friend shared a post on Facebook. It was about #metoo. It was well written from the point of an expert in what I’ll call systems of belief. She was waiting for a plane with another expert. A man. A guy sitting across from them asked why they were there. They told him. He proceeded to go off on a tangent mansplaining his point of view rather than asking her for viewpoint. Her colleague proceeded to take this guy down. He did it gently and mentioned that he lost a great opportunity to learn from an expert.

All good.

I made the mistake of reading the comments. I never do that for obvious reasons. Most of the comments were fairly tame until. Until it devolved into a shouting match where women were attacking other women on little tiny points, calling each other sexist. WTH?

People, people, people.

This ain’t gonna help. Better to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes than to be so sensitive that you attack them for some little, insignificant point. Always to remember what they taught me in drunk school. When you point one finger at someone, the other three are pointing back at you.

If you want to change something – and a lot needs changing — work at it. Stop attacking each other on social media. Build. Don’t destroy. After all, faith without work is dead.

The picture. It’s one that I made when the sky was doing weird stuff. I even walked to a different location. The strange light followed me. Maybe it was meant for me. It did some post production. The first take looked very evil. Nasty.

So.

I thought, a dangerous thing to do, that I would make it gentle. Cotton ball-like.

See?

It’s all in your perspective.

Shapes and Shadows


Shadows make the picture.

Sticky days and very hot nights.

I’ve noticed that I don’t see a lot of my neighbors. There’s a good reason for this. Everybody is tired of our super sticky days. With the last storm, the humidity has increased to almost unbearable levels. I call it a four t-shirt, three shower, day. They stay inside where the air conditioners are working overtime.

Whew.

So. I make pictures where I can and get excited thinking about fall-like weather. A time when I can roam about without feeling like I’ve been through the rinse cycle.

In a way, that’s what this picture is about. I saw it. It didn’t look like much the first time that I passed by. But… the next time, late afternoon shadows were encroaching on the scene. The picture turned interesting. Now it was ready. So was I. Yes. I helped it in post production. Everything needed to be deeper, richer and glowing.

That’s the photography lesson for the day. Be patient. I suppose that’s the unspoken lesson every day. You know. Study, practice, study, practice, study… that’s another way of saying work hard at what you do and be patient.

Yesterday’s Picture, Today


A little light on the subject.

This is the picture that I was going to publish yesterday. A Sunday picture. But, “World Photography Day” got in the way. It couldn’t have been that big of a deal. I saw very few tags with that name attached. Oh well. I had fun.

That said, this is a good time for a discussion about light.

I started thinking about this last week. I had a discussion on somebody else’s comments section about light.  A young photographer. She had no idea that photography is a Greek word for drawing with light. I kind of bumbled around in my reply, by saying “well, it’s an old school photography thing,” as I let her off the hook.

I was wrong to do that.

If you want to do anything, study it. Practice it. You know, my mantra. Study, practice, study, practice, study, practice, study, practice.

If my pictures are any good, it’s because I photograph so damn much. I couldn’t help but improve. All practice. Based on study.

But, that’s not the topic.

Today, it’s about light.

And, how to use it. Or, in this case, one way to use it.

If you photograph these leaves with the light falling on it from the front, it would be a really boring picture of leaves. Maybe you could help it out, by working really close, focusing on one leaf and turning the background into a sort of bokeh. But, still…

When I saw the leaves, they were backlighted by the sun. So much so, that some leaves looked transparent. Others had a rim glow around them. That’s all properties of light. How light works. And, how to use that light to your advantage to make an interesting picture.

Same thing with the greatest light of all. The sun. When it sets, everybody takes pictures of the beautiful light in the sunset. That wonderful light has to fall some place behind you. Turn around. See what it is lighting. Photograph that. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe what it’s lighting is ugly. Still, turn around and look.

Two more things.

This post is serendipity. A discussion added to some luck with the light. If the Boy Scout in you is always prepared, you can make this picture.

For those of you who are following Storyteller and are taking pictures, let’s do this. The next time you are out and about try to find a way to use light a little creatively. It doesn’t have to be backlighting like my picture. Then make a blog post about it. We’ll discuss it. What do you think?

It’s not a contest. It’s just practice.

Practice. Practice. Practice.